This is not a post about changing the law so 18-year-olds can exercise their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. It’s not about equipping college kids with alternative weapons for self-defense such as a knife, baseball bat or pepper spray (legal in PA). Or putting them into a martial arts program before they leave the nest. It’s about teaching your children to have a bit of Bushido in them . . .
The young man in the video above is clearly, understandably rattled by the home invasion/robbery. He’s absolutely right: no possession is worth a human life. But Thomas Santarcangelo’s last statement is more than slightly worrying: “I guess we’re easy prey for people around here. It’s clear that we’re easy prey.”
Whether or not that’s true isn’t the point. It’s the mindset behind Santarcangelo’s statement that should raise red flags for parents with kids going to college. If your child sees him or herself as “easy prey” it’s a very short journey towards becoming easy prey.
The key word is “easy,” as in someone who’s not going to put up a fight. That’s not a label you want your kids to wear, internally or externally. In fact, if it was politically correct to say that people who see themselves as victims invite victimization I would. But it isn’t so I won’t. But I will say this . . .
Bad guys may have an innate and/or learned ability to know who’s going to submit to their threats, violence and demands. Unless they’re acting on impulse—and maybe even then—sizing-up their victims is what they do. If your child fits their profile your progeny will be in their crosshairs. And that’s a fact.
Maintaining situational awareness is excellent preventative medicine against violent attack. Bad guys look for people looking for them. They know that people who scan for threats usually have a plan to deal with those threats. They are not “easy prey.” Yes but—
Situational awareness isn’t that powerful. A criminal who ID’s a potential victim on the lookout for a threat may simply decide to use more cunning, speed or violence against their target. Bad guys are just as good at calculating the risk – reward ratio as a Wall Street banker.
Unfortunately, there’s no one “answer” to training your child to deal with a criminal or criminals attempting to steal their stuff, rape them, inflict other types of grievous bodily harm or take their life. Save this: your child should know that lethal threats exist, they can come out of nowhere and that it’s OK to counter that threat with lethal force.
I’m not going to say you should give your child permission to kill someone who poses a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to them or other innocent life. But I am saying that they need to know that there comes a point when they must use maximum force against their aggressor. No holds barred. All in. NOW.
They also need to know that you will back them up afterwards, no matter what. As our kids go through their teenage years, we tend to forget how much they need our approval (deep down, I swear). If they know that you’re OK with violent self-defense, that you’ve got their back after a violent encounter, they will have more confidence going in.
There’s lots you can do to help your children understand that it’s alright to unleash the dogs of war when and where appropriate. Firearms familiarization is a definite plus–especially if you teach your kids that guns aren’t death rays. (There are worse things than being shot.) Team sports can provide invaluable instruction in the importance of perseverance under pressure.
However you couch it, whatever you do to reinforce it, make your children understand a simple idea: they are not a victim. Not before an attack, during it or after. They need to see themselves as fighters when they need to be. If and when they can be.
And when the crisis is over, your children should see themselves as victors. Nothing more and nothing less.